San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

LONGVIEW, TX–An Interview with Anna Rebek

on November 12, 2014

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Tell us about yourself.

I started acting in green tights as Peter Pan in 4th grade. Ever since then theater has been my rescue and my escape. The only thing that’s brutal about theater was forming these families of trust within a cast and then going back to regular life afterwards; it couldn’t be reality. I studied acting, directing, painting and playwriting at Yale. It was inspiring to be submerged in that environment with others who were focused and ambitious and sharp. I learned all the methods, did all the exercises and learned from excellent minds, but in the end it wasn’t an academic framework that gripped me in performances, it was the rawness.

I like challenges, and I like working with people whom I respect. I’m a tough critic… I’m not often impressed by the theater I go see. I can always appreciate the work that goes into it, but I don’t usually find a truly relatable character, or a vulnerable performance or see choices made that blow me away with their bravery or savagery or brittleness or wit. I want to be blown away when I go to the theater. I need the challenge of it. I crave it so much that I wrote the play Longview, TX, because I needed to hear real voices on stage, from relatable characters and have actors I most respect blow me away. And they do.

Anna Rebek

Anna Rebek

Read more about Anna, her inspiration and how she wrote for her cast on the InnerMission Productions InnerBlog http://innermissionpro.tumblr.com/.

What are your challenges?

Watching the show with a room full of people was definitely more nerve-racking than I’d anticipated!

After this experience of writing and directing Longview, TX, it would be very difficult to be a playwright who then turns the play over to someone else to direct. It’s not that I don’t think another approach to the work could be an excellent take; it’s just that when I write I have very specific ways I hear the dialogue being delivered. It’s probably because I’ve been an actor for so many years.

Moving forward I’m curious about how my writing approach and technique will evolve…should I continue to write for specific performers I know that can push the work forward? Or should I nurture the story only and then hustle to find the talent…

I loved Texas as a backdrop for this play because it has dialect, music, food, and big personalities. Texas comes with a culture all its own that I knew and could draw from for the dialogue. I’d like to visit or even invent other places with writing, while still keeping the voices and characters real and grounded. That’ll be a challenge.

What are your successes?

As a writer, having people come up to me after the show and say how they could relate to each of the characters, and that they couldn’t predict what anyone was going to say next. Unpredictability is a HUGE compliment. Also giving the audience credit that they’ll be able to piece together the mystery aspect of the story. Treating an audience with respect so they come up to me and say “hey, I figured it out at the end” is cool.

As writer and director I do feel like having been able to keep people excited and on board with the project is important. Keeping morale up even if there’s tension, or collaborative differences, that was harder than I thought it would be… and although my tone wasn’t always chipper, I know that our team met my high expectations. They are proud to be a part of it and they want to blow me away every show. That’s a success.

What is your next step?

Well, before we leave the space we’ll be filming the play. I’ve always been conflicted about theater being this one time only event that evaporates after all the hard work that went into it. I did produce a feature film in 2011 and I’ll do it again with this script on stage in the space. I look forward to exploring this show as a hybrid of theater and film. The camera can go into places the audience can’t and get all up in it!

Thank you for talking with us, Anna! Good luck with Longview, TX!

Longview, TX runs through November 16. For ticket information please visit http://www.welcometolongview.com.

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